Officer Sentenced for Molesting Colleague's Daughter - NBC4 Washington
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Officer Sentenced for Molesting Colleague's Daughter

Crying as she stood at a courtroom dais with her parents next to her, the teenage victim called Collard 'a coward' and said she had been through a horrendous experience

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    Officer Sentenced for Molesting Colleague's Daughter
    Nigel Killeen/Getty Images, File
    Los Angeles police car

    A former Los Angeles police officer who pleaded guilty to molesting a fellow cop's 13-year-old daughter was sentenced Friday to five years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

    The victim's father told the court that he was betrayed by Kenneth Collard after allowing him into his family's Torrance home.

    "You have broken that trust and my whole family has felt the effects ... She always sees the good in life and she always did, but we've lost some of that sparkle this year,'' the girl's father said, questioning if the 52-year-old defendant will be a changed man after serving his prison term.

    The victim's mother also directly addressed Collard at the sentencing hearing in a Torrance courtroom.

    "You've taken so much from my family,'' she told the defendant.

    "This past year has been hell ... Thank God we as a family are stronger you."

    She said there was "overwhelming DNA evidence" against the former officer, whom she said had stolen her daughter's innocence.

    "Thank God we believed her,'' she said. "May every hour you spend in prison feel like 100.''

    One of the girl's older sisters told Collard that the family trusted him, describing him as her father's best friend, addressing Collard directly by saying that he was "not as drunk as you claimed."

    "DNA does not lie, but you do,'' she told the defendant. "You knew the law and you broke it.''

    Another of the girl's sisters called Collard "a monster'' who got caught and warned that he shouldn't be left unsupervised with children.

    Crying as she stood at a courtroom dais with her parents next to her, the teenage victim called Collard a "coward'' and said she had been through a "horrendous experience.''

    "You've made me so angry that I could scream,'' she said, noting that her teachers had seen her grades slipping afterward.

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    Collard -- employed by the Los Angeles Police Department at the time -- entered the victim's bedroom in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted her while staying at his friend's home on April 4, 2018, authorities said.

    When he pleaded guilty to two counts of committing a lewd act on a child on April 5, the LAPD issued a statement saying the "plea closes a disturbing chapter for this department. Ken Collard resigned from the LAPD shortly after he was charged for these deplorable crimes. When any individual harms a child it is tragic, but when an officer betrays the trust of the residents he or she has sworn to protect it is unforgivable. Collard tarnished the badge that we all wear and the department remains committed to building faith in our professionalism and integrity.''

    Collard did not address the court before being sentenced by Judge Nicole C. Bershon, but his wife, two daughters, father, ex-wife and his former wife's husband did as they sat on the other side of the courtroom and spoke in support of him.

    Collard's wife told the judge that she's been married to him for five years, and has known him for a decade, calling him the "most caring, generous, selfless man that I've ever met."

    She said Collard rescued a couple being attacked by carjackers and came to the aid of a girl whose arm was severed in a car accident.

    "In my eyes, my husband is a hero,'' she said. "I love my husband with all my heart. I stand by him with the knowledge of the real him.''

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    One of his daughters said he was "truly an inspiration to me in every aspect of his life,'' and another called him the "greatest father'' and an "excellent officer.''

    Both of his daughters said they love him, and his ex-wife said their biggest concern is Collard's safety behind bars.

    "I've always been proud to call Ken my son,'' his father said, noting that his son was a good athlete with a "decorated career'' spanning 23 years.

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    One of Collard's attorneys, Robert Ernenwein, said it was the defense's hope that both families could move forward and that Collard will be safe in prison where "he will be punished.''

    The judge -- who repeatedly told Collard's family that the defendant had entered into a "negotiated disposition'' and that she was not going to re-litigate the case -- noted that it had been "a very emotional morning'' for the two families, who are now "probably never going to get along.''

    "Their friendship is irrevocably severed,'' Bershon said. "There's a lot of emotions. There's a lot of hurt feelings.''

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    The victim's family stood in court and watched intently as Collard was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.

    "There's nothing easy about what happened in the courtroom today,'' one of Collard's attorneys, Stephanie Johnson, said outside court. "Mr. Collard is a wonderful father. He's loved deeply by his family. He's accepted responsibility for what has taken place and it's time for everyone to move forward.''

    She said her client will have to serve 85 percent of the term in state prison before he is paroled.

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    Collard was previously in the news almost a decade ago, when he was involved in the fatal shooting of a suspect while on duty in West Los Angeles.

    Late on the night of July 6, 2009, Collard was in full uniform driving a unmarked police car when he heard a radio call of a robbery and attempted carjacking by two suspects, at least one of them armed with a gun, according to an LAPD statement issued two days later. As he was driving east in the 11300 block of Iowa Avenue, he saw two men matching the description of the suspects, "and one of them was fighting with another man, as a woman stood nearby," the LAPD reported then.

    The man and woman were later determined to be victims of an attempted robbery, according to the LAPD, which reported that Collard stopped and got out of his car and identified himself as an LAPD officer.

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    One of the suspects immediately ran from the location, but the second suspect, who had been fighting with the other man when Collard drove up, "advanced towards the officer with an object in his hand,'' prompting Collard to open fire, according to the LAPD.

    Pedro Fernandez, a 24-year-old Tarzana resident, died at the scene, and the other suspect subsequently was arrested.